Appeals Court Reinstates Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Joe Arpaio (R), the infamous Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, is facing more legal trouble. Already facing a class action lawsuit and a U.S. Department of Justice legal complaint, he can again add “federal civil rights and conspiracy lawsuit” to his docket, after a federal appeals court reinstated a suit against him.

A three judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on reinstated a lawsuit filed by Phoenix New Times owners Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin against Arpaio, rejecting his claims of immunity. Lacey and Larkin were arrested after the paper published information about extensive subpoenas they received following a story in which they published Arpaio’s home address.

In July, federal trial began, focused on allegations of racial profiling by Arpaio’s police force. The judge is still considering the class action complaint.

Last December, the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of a three-year investigation into Arpaio’s practices. In May, the DOJ filed a formal legal compaint against Arpaio for “a pattern or practice of unlawful discriminatory police conduct directed at Latinos in Maricopa County and jail practices that unlawfully discriminate against Latino prisoners with limited English language skills.” The complaint included accusations that Arpaio and his staff forced women to sleep in their own menstrual blood, assaulted pregnant women, ignored rape, and criminalized being a Latino.


When not busy dealing with these legal actions, Arpaio uses taxpayer funds to pursue a “birther” investigation against President Obama. An honorary chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign, Arpaio declined Romney’s request for a primary endorsement in the 2012 race.

Arpaio is seeking re-election this November against former Phoenix police sergeant Paul Penzone.